Late last year, it was announced that Google would be killing off Hangouts Classic - as well as Allo - and today the company is releasing more details about its plans for the future of Hangouts Classic, and its most to Hangouts Chat and Meet.
Published on its G Suite Blog, Google made note of a few dates for the transition from Hangouts Classic to Chat and Meet. Features from Hangouts Classic will begin making its way to Chat and Meet in April and continue through September. In October, Hangouts Classic will start the retirement process for G Suite customers, with no specific date mentioned.
Worth noting that this is only for G Suite customers, so those that have a regular Gmail account, Hangouts Classic will continue to live on for a bit longer. It is expected to sunset officially in 2020 however, the exact time-frame in 2020 is yet to be determined.
Currently, Hangouts Classic and the new Hangouts Chat are mostly interoperable, though group chats don't seem to be making the move over to Chat as easily. That is something that Google will likely be working on in the coming months before it sunsets the "Classic" version for G Suite users.
Google says that G Suite users can start the transition over to Hangouts Chat now, as there are some better features available on Chat versus the Classic version. But if there are still some features missing from Hangouts Chat, then you may want to hold off until those features are rolled out more fully.
Hangouts Classic was unveiled a few years ago as the replacement for Google Talk. Google hyped it up as a new chat service that would replace all of the chat services that Google had. Giving everyone an all-in-one service. Though that didn't really happen, as Google decided to also launch a few new messaging apps just a few years later, in Allo, Duo and Android Messages. Now, Google has, officially about seven messaging apps and it'll be shutting down two of those. Leaving everyone with five different messaging apps, which is not going to make things any simpler for its users.
When the news broke that Hangouts Classic would be sunset in 2020, according to the leaked roadmap, Google panicked a little bit. It didn't really have any option for its users that were still using Hangouts. This is because Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet were initially supposed to be only for enterprise aka G Suite users. So Google decided that it would open up the new Hangouts Chat and Meet to all of its users, but it looks like Google still needs to tie up a few loose-ends before it can do that.
Hangouts Classic is on its way out. It had a pretty good run, but it looks like Hangouts Chat and Meet will be replacing it in the next year or two. Of course, many are going to be looking for a new messaging app, seeing as Google does like to kill off its messaging apps every few years, and it is getting rather annoying.